One of the hardest things about running is finding a good run — when you’re bogged down in setting up logistics for how long, how fast and how much you’re hitting the streets, it’s difficult to actually enjoy it and keep it going. Runkeeper, easily one of the most popular fitness tools online today, can help you with all of it by using your smartphone’s GPS to gather helpful information about your daily run.
You can also take advantage of Runkeeper’s dashboard to see how your runs improve over time, run with a specified program (like their popular 5k trainer), and allow friends to send you encouraging messages while you run.
A great exercise routine can only do so much of the work — it’s also about what you put in your body that counts. MyFitnessPal is a straightforward, simple calorie counter that helps track food intake daily, setting caloric goals and factoring in exercise to give an accurate readout of how your diet shapes up every day.
Setting up a system is relatively easy, and it rewards you for staying on track by offering badges and challenges to loyal users. The app has a robust and fairly accurate pre-established database of foods — even broken down to brands and menu items at popular restaurants. Comprehensive and simple, MyFitnessPal is a great way to get an idea of what your diet looks like and how you can change it over time.
Ladies: you’re in luck. It’s a challenge to find out a great workout for women, and Nike Training Club has fixed that with Nike Training Club, a big database filled with bodyweight exercise routines to get you moving quickly.
Users can select workouts based on their desired goals (sculpting, toning, strength and quick workouts that focus on different areas of the body) and relative fitness capabilities. This means that there is something for beginners and also fitness junkies looking to switch up their routines. You can also sync your own music to the workout, providing a seamless session that lets you get your sweat on.
4. Google Now
If you’re all about making small lifestyle changes to help you lose extra pounds — like climbing the stairs instead of taking the elevator or walking to lunch instead of driving — then you’ll be pleased to know that you can track it all without springing for a pedometer. Google Now quietly introduced a fitness tracking feature to its list of helpful information, so its simple to see how many steps or miles you’ve done in your day.
There’s no extra features beyond a simple number, but sometimes that’s all you need to get motivated.
Workout mixes are vital to pushing you further, whether it’s reaching the top of the next hill or turning up the speed on the treadmill. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a lackluster or stale mix can keep you from really getting into it, and you’ll spend your workout cycling through your endless music library instead of pushing through a workout.
FitRadio is a good option to cure bad music blues, offering a series of flowing mix playlists specifically designed to keep your heart rate up and in the groove. The app offers a selection based on genres, and plenty of different professional DJ mixes to ensure that your playlist options are varied. You can save your favorites and go back to them anytime.
Maybe great music isn’t enough for you to push yourself and keep at the exercise habit. Would zombies change your mind?
Zombies, Run! is an interactive running app that casts the user as Runner 5, an important equipment handler and gatherer for the upstart post-apocalyptic survivor town, Abel Township. As you run, zombies are hot on your tail, and the app will cut into your music to tell you that they’re gaining fast. You also “collect equipment” along the way to help service Abel Township and make it stronger against the oncoming hordes. There are 23 missions to play through, as well as a 20k mission challenge, so there’s plenty zombie goodness to keep you running for a while.
7. Pocket Yoga
If your idea of fitness is less treadmill and more Trikonasana, then you also know that a yoga habit (especially in a big city) can be a pricey and rigid one. The best benefits come to those who practice yoga faithfully every day, but not many people have the time or money to make that a reality.
Pocket Yoga is a very simple way to workaround the constraints of practicing yoga by bringing full yoga workouts to your smartphone. Simply roll out your mat and follow along with the poses on your phone. For beginners, there’s a handy pose dictionary that describes each movement in detail, and there are plenty of advanced poses available for experts.
The whole point of exercise is to keep an active heart rate, but actually checking a pulse during a workout can be a pain. Exercise watches with built-in heart monitors can be expensive, and more traditional chest monitors can feel bulky and awkward in a fitness setting.
Enter Instant Heart Rate, an app that takes accurate pulse measurements by utilizing a smartphone’s camera to measure color changes in the tip of a pointer finger. Just click the “Measure” icon, cover your camera lens with your finger, and the app will track the rate of your heartbeat as well as produce a PPG readout of every single beat. The whole process takes less than 30 seconds total, and it keeps a detailed log of every heart rate test so you can see differences over time.